The history of web design is complexe and link to the history of the web technologies. In the beginning web designers came from the print world. But they had to accept that the web is another medium with others skills needed.
We can trace 3 eras in the web history. The beginning (91 - 2000), the quiet time (2001 - 2006) and the responsive era (2007 - nowadays). Each era got his own technology and his own web design aspect depending on the technologies and the users requirements.
The web is evolving every day and web designers need to evolve with it. They need to adapt their skills and creativity to the web tendencies. A real web designer have to always learn during all of his career because the web industry is a small world which evolve faster and faster.